It was one of those days again. Exactly one of those days. Grey days. Blue days. Whatever they are called. Days, when i ask myself too many questions. Or may be one single question. I let the question(s) take root in my mind, become a part of my subconscious self, assimilate information and experience required to arrive at an answer...and then, answer blossoms in my mind even before i know it.
However, what i was thinking, rather, asking myself today, was both, unwelcome and perplexing. To add another word, the specific time i chose to reflect and concoct answers, also made this question ironical.
"Why do friends become so important to us in life, that after a point, it starts hurting?"
(In case the paradox is not ostensible, it is the first Sunday of August today, which the world celebrates as Friendship Day)
I woke up in the morning, and cast a half open glance at the slightly ajar door of my balcony. Hardly any light was coming in. It was dark, overcast, I could make out. I pulled my knees close to my chest, tightly wound my hands around my bosom, and gave myself the warmest hug I could, to counter the effects of the chilly air flowing into the room, and then sprang out of bed. With eye lids refusing to cooperate, i somehow managed to locate my slippers, but accidentally placed my feet on the icy floor. Within a matter of seconds, a current of chill ran up my legs, and my spine, hit my head, and culminated into a smile. The same, old, faint, silly- my favorite smile. Thus i proceeded on my 'arduous' walk to the balcony, ten heavy steps....
I collapsed on the cold balcony floor, in an attempt to embrace what nature was offering. It was colder than inside the room, so i brought myself closer together, once again pulled my knees to my chest, and started imagining the aroma of coffee beans. Had only been a second, when my 'pet' tree, right across my balcony, broke out into a dance- gracefully swaying side to side first, and then going wild, mad, to the tune of the flowing breeze. My tree was welcoming me to become a part of this private celebration of nature, whatever was left of it amid the chaos of brick and mortar which we call our 'habitat'. Having performed the invocation, my tree invited all the other trees, and birds, and clouds, and winds, and rains, to join in this mad revelry, and they all gladly acceded.
What then ensued in front of me is not in my capacity to describe. Any other person would have described it as a heavy, torrential shower. But, was it just that? There were people down in the street, scurrying in all directions to look for a shelter. Hapless people. The more fortunate of us homo sapiens were the half naked street kids, splashing in the puddles, laughing, shouting, dancing....being purified, washed clean directly by the heavens. I broke into a subtle laughter at their sight, and started enjoying the raindrops being tossed in my direction after hitting the balcony railing. I was happy. Innately happy. Infinitely happy. These weren't just rains. This was the most basic and personalized invite that the heavens sent to all of us, to, for once, abandon our synthetic existence, and befriend nature. I did.
I sent a 'thank you' in the direction of my 'pet' tree, which has been my friend ever since i shifted to my current accommodation. Initially frightened by it's eerie silhouettes in the dark of the night, it soon became my companion for the solitary moments i spent in the open, often understanding and sharing my thoughts. Today as well it was listening, as i asked myself a question, and then quickly rubbished it. This very question had caused an immeasurable disarray in my interiors about a day or two back, but today, it was inconsequential. There was a reason to it. And i want that reason to know that it was the reason for the calm and balance i expreience right now.
I met a friend yesterday. A friend, who has forever been a friend, a close friend, but separated by large distances. When i felt cold today, i remembered the warm hug my friend gave me yesterday. When the damp weather's chicanery was coercing me to become gloomy, I rememberd this friend's laughter and his concern for my happiness. When strange thoughts were complicating my routines, i rememberd his simple ways and his humble eyes. I was elated, elevated, and infinitely comforted.
At first, I could not recognize him. He appeared from amid a crowd, his bag hung over one of his shoulders. I knew he was coming, that is why i was waiting for him, yet, the first glimpse i caught of him was laced with disbelief. I was still not humble to the fact that i would, finally, be getting to spend time, in person, with him. He looked better, smarter than ever i had known him to be. He in no way looked dapper, all his charm emanating from the casual, easy way in which he carried himself. His manner was courteous, yet not even a feeble measure of formality streaked his demeanor. His smile was contagious- i call him my own brand of "happiness pill". The best thing about him- he made me feel at home.
He made me realize that dubious questions, such as the one quoted in the beginning, are nothing, but a travesty of the word 'friendship'.
Sitting diagonally across me, with a hot cup of Mocha in his hands, (and a semi alcoholic Irish Coffee in mine), he incited me into self dialogue as to why such a special friend is to be separated by such long distances. We jabbered incessantly about everything that came to mind. We took short, reflective breaks to understand and absorb the importance of the time being spent together. We gave each other little gifts, for this is the only time of the year we could meet, but those gifts in no way could amount to even an approximate measure of how loved we wanted to make each other feel. "The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people." The artist inside me was failing me. I had wanted to tell him so much more, hear so much more, share so many thoughts, tears, laughter....
Time for departure was too quick to come. I was sad. Little. I was happier to have met him. He has a little thing about him, which revives my faith in everything good and positive around me. I live for my friends; but when it starts getting too much, he inspires me to perfect the balancing act, and not sway to the extremes. The people i love, and begin to hate because of unfulfilled expectations, suddenly become blame free, and i give myself a slight rebuff for letting negativity brew in my head. The good part is, despite being benevolent and magnanimous, he never makes me feel indebted. He says its mutual, and i comfort him as much as he comforts me. I like to believe it. Its so easy to be friends this way. He holds infinite respect for me, as i for him, and while respecting each other, we learn to respect every other good thing/person in our life which deserves to be respected.
My tree still stands there. It has noticed the droplets forcing their way out of my eyes. In its reckoning, i was infinitely happy, so why the droplets? I don't know. May be i am sad for not having been able to give him a last, warm hug as he disembarked from the metro at Rajiv Chowk, and mumble an apology. May be i am happy (mushy-happy), and i have been happy for so long that it can no longer be contained inside me. May be i am both. One thing for certain- this friend will remain with me, even when that tree dies down. If ever he goes away, I will understand that there must be a reason for it. This season, and the next, and the next...i'll remember to smile whenever the rain fed weather's beauty is beyond description, for it is on one such day, i spent the most marvellous moments of my life with you.
Keep my faith breathing....